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Four Decades Along the Rainbow Road

A look back at my work with the LGBTQ community. I first became active in the gay rights movement in 1980 when I launched my LGBTQ jo...

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Kris Fair Announces Run for State Delegate

Candidate seeks to be first openly gay representative from Western MD

Kris Fair
Kris Fair, a Democrat and lifelong resident of Frederick County, will officially announce his candidacy for the Maryland House of Delegates in the current District 3A at a free event on November 15. It will take place at the Monocacy Brewing Company, 1781 N Market Street Frederick, MD 21701 at 6 p.m. The program will run from 6:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.

Delegate Karen Lewis Young will be introducing Fair at the kickoff event and endorsing him for the seat she currently holds. Delegate Lewis Young is preparing her run for the Maryland State Senate with the impending retirement of Senator Ron Young. Fair has served as Delegate Lewis Young’s legislative director and former campaign manager. In addition, speakers will include local activists and campaign co-chairs Tracy Racheff and Wil Graham.

At the announcement, numerous local businesses and organizations will be represented, including Brewer’s Alley beer, Dublin Roasters coffee, and food from Traditional Authentic Mexican Food truck. Additionally, The Frederick County Health Department will be providing COVID-19 Vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer, and J & J). Love for Lochlin will be providing free Flu Vaccines.

The campaign asks attendees to bring hygienic items (toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, hairbrush, deodorant, body wash, toilet paper, etc.) that will be donated through a local nonprofit to families in need during the holiday season.

Fair will outline his message of “Progress Starts on Day One.” His campaign will focus on post-Covid recovery, access to quality education and healthcare for all, fighting for social justice and equity, and investing in critical community needs, including the environment, fair wages, housing, and mental health. He will also share how he is uniquely qualified with vast experience in the nonprofit, for-profit, and public sectors and how he will harness his lived experience to support all Frederick residents with a powerful voice in Annapolis.

“As Delegate I will apply my lived experience growing up gay in rural Frederick County, surviving the many adversities in our community to become one of the leaders that built the largest LGBTQ+ organization in Western Maryland,” Fair told me. “I will fight every day for Frederick residents and my LGBTQ+ family.”

Fair, who is the current Executive Director of The Frederick Center, a support and advocacy organization serving the LGBTQ+ communities in the broader Frederick area, has 20 years’ leadership experience in civil rights and community outreach organizations serving the disenfranchised with a strong track record of inter-agency coordination. Previously, he chaired The Frederick Center Board of Directors for over four years and had been the Director of Frederick Pride since 2012.

A graduate of Linganore High School in 2002, Frederick Community College in 2008, and Hood College in 2012, Fair has been active with numerous organizations besides The Frederick Center. They include The Frederick Arts Council, The Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership (SHIP), MOM’s Demand Action, The Golden Mile Alliance, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, The Greater Frederick Advertising Federation, Frederick County Democratic Party, and Weinberg Center for the Arts.

In recognition of his strategic planning abilities, leadership skills, and contributions of many volunteer hours, Kris has been honored with the Community Foundation of Frederick County’s Wertheimer Award, The Human Relations Commission’s Lord Nickens Public Service Award, and Hood College’s Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Award. He has been named the Frederick County Democratic Party volunteer of the year and was recently featured in Frederick Magazine’s People to Watch.

Kris Fair currently lives in Frederick City with his husband, Dominick.  

For more information, email info@krisfair.com or visit here.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Republicans’ Descent into the Party of Hypocrisy

The Republicans call themselves the “Law and Order Party.” Yet House Republicans overwhelmingly opposed the punishment of one of former President Trump’s thugs Steve Bannon for spitting on a lawfully issued subpoena to testify before the January 6 House Select Committee.

They like to call themselves the “Party of Patriotism.” But mostly all Republican officials and a vast majority of the party’s membership deny the results of the free and fair 2020 presidential election following the demands from their cult leader Donald Trump. They not only publicly believe Trump’s Big Lie but they have continued to propagate it.

These folks don’t want the facts from the run-up of the January 6 insurrection—the largest attack on our citadel of democracy in centuries—to see the light of day lest that would affect the midterms in 2022. Note that Republicans who were elected and re-elected last November had no such concerns of “voter fraud” in their own races stemming from the same ballots!

They like to say how much they revere the American flag. Of course, many do. But they seem to have no problem that such flags and their attached poles were used as weapons during the insurrection on January 6, 2021that was incited by Trump to prevent the certification of the presidential election.

In that regard, they call themselves the party that supports the police—the Blue Line, Blue Lives Matter, etc. Yet again, when hundreds of police were attacked by lawless criminals using an array of weapons on January 6, the Republicans in both houses succeeded in preventing the establishment of a nonpartisan commission to investigate the domestic terrorism as the FBI characterized it and have tried to delegitimize the January 6 committee.  They also overwhelmingly refused to award medals to police heroes who put themselves on the line during the Capitol riot.

The GOP prides itself as the “Party of Fiscal Responsibility.” But wait, under President Trump the national debt ballooned to nearly $8 trillion, the highest in our history.

The Republicans are all about freedom and liberty. Very cool. Nonetheless, dozens of Republican controlled state legislatures have passed or are in the process of passing laws that impose major roadblocks to voting. Much of these laws are targeting Blacks and people of color thus denying or at least impeding their freedom to vote. Republicans in Congress have stymied voter protection laws. So much for freedom.

They see themselves as the “Party of Family Values.” But they balk at or mock Democratic attempts to provide child care, health care, nutritional services and economic relief to working families—all measures that would strengthen and keep families together.

Republicans consistently maintain that they are the “Pro-life Party.”  Whether it’s the GOP elected officials or their voters, they have eschewed wearing masks in public spaces and peddle misinformation about proven vaccines intended to curb serious illnesses and deaths attributed to Covid-19. They overwhelmingly support the death penalty, too.

And don’t get me started on their being the “Party of Morality.” This article would triple in size if I delved into that topic.

To be clear, some of these examples of hypocrisy began before Trump.  But Trump is the Republican Party. He has taken hypocrisy to new depths.  And the hypocrisy will continue during the Republicans’ ongoing quest for autocracy while our democracy will melt away like an Arctic glacier. 




Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Peril Ahead: A Review of New Woodward-Costa Book

In the seemingly endless parade of books about Donald Trump, a new entry by multiple award winning best-selling author Bob Woodward and his Washington Post colleague Robert Costa, offer a new take on the topic. Their Post cohorts Phillip Rucker and Carol Leonnig in the recently  published bestseller I Alone Can Fix It: Donald Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year focuses on Trump from the onset of the pandemic through Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Peril provides insight into the thinking of Donald Trump as well as his associates, members of his administration, military leaders and political allies. The period covers the months leading up to the election to the present (Summer 2021) but it also includes the presidential campaign and the nascent presidency of Joe Biden.

The title I Alone Can Fix It is a quote lifted from Trump’s acceptance speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention.  Peril is derived from Joe Biden’s inauguration speech where he said, “We have much to do in this winter of peril.”

Both books reflect solid sourcing from these experienced and highly regarded journalists involving tons of recorded interviews and documents to back up their words. Therefore, what you read, you can take to the bank.

While Peril devotes about half the book to Trump and the other to Biden, I found the Trump chapters more captivating and dramatic even though much of what is written is generally well known. This is no surprise given that Biden did not incite an insurrection, continues to lie about the election, has a larger than life standing within his own party, and is prone to salty temper tantrums. Moreover, the military leadership does not fear that Biden would start a war on a whim or deploy soldiers to control lawful demonstrations by the citizenry.   

Yet, if you’re looking for a book that is filled with jaw-dropping salacious reveals, Peril is not the one. Woodward and Costa, nonetheless, get behind the scenes and offer fascinating glimpses into Trump (and Biden) meetings and phone calls and delve into the relationships between the principals and their aides, congressional personalities and others, much of which had not been brought into the sunlight previously.

As with I Alone Can Fit It, Peril is pretty much chronological in structure. Presented in a somewhat choppy cadence, Woodward and Costa hop back and forth to the early stages of Biden’s campaign to the Trump campaign.  The election itself and all the mishigas and danger that ensued as a result of Trump’s denial of the results, January 6 and the run-up to the inauguration are described in appropriately vibrant fashion.

The authors effectively convey the dynamics between Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Attorney General William Barr, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley, and Senator Lindsey Graham. These accounts are presented in fascinating detail—all the colorful language included.

Trump and Graham have a beguiling dynamic. They are good friends and golf buddies who speak frequently on the phone. Despite Graham’s best efforts, he cannot move Trump away from his continuing lie that the election was stolen. He pleaded with Trump that the party needs him to move on from this in order to win back the House and Senate. Graham is blunt with Trump whereas others can’t get away with it.

“If we come back in 2022 and recapture the House and Senate, you’ll get your fair share of credit. If we fail…Trumpism, I think, will die. January 6 will be your obituary.”

Trump remains unmoved to this day.

His pique with Kevin McCarthy is also notable.

“This guy called me every single day, pretended to be my best friend, and then, he fucked me. He’s not a good guy,” Trump said in reaction to McCarthy’s talking him down about election fraud.

Likewise, the relationships between Biden and McConnell, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Joe Manchin and Rep. Jim Clyburn are intriguing. One interesting reveal is that Clyburn, an African American, had worked with collegially with segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond in Congress.

The scurrying to prove the election was stolen that reflect the silliness of the case manifested by the bizarre performances of Trump’s lawyers is one of Peril’s highlights. The run-up to and including January 6 is also chronicled. The threat to democracy was genuine and unfolding in real time. Peril captures the essence of that threat but does not convey the wrenching terror the individual congressmen and senators experienced during those horrific hours.

Many wonder what Trump was doing while the riots were taking place. The House Select Committee will be looking into that very question in the coming weeks. But the authors indicate that Trump was alone in a private dining room in the White House watching the events play out on TV. We also learn the exact location where Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been whisked away during the siege.

Much of the reporting about Biden centers on his personality and character. It is in stark contrast with Trump’s belligerent, me-only attitude. Peril adroitly captures Biden’s self-reflection, and his memory of his son Beau who died from brain cancer is constantly with him and helps guide him in key decision-making opportunities.

Biden’s priority when he took office was to end the Covid-19 pandemic by accelerating the vaccination rate in the country. He also spent a lot of effort and perhaps political capital trying to get a relief bill through Congress. In that regard, his interactions with Manchin were intense.

The summer discussions surrounding the potential withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan that eventually took place seem prescient as we witnessed the chaos later on after Peril was printed. Opposed to the endless war in Afghanistan, Biden’s incentive was to end it now. Ultimately, the mess proved not to be his finest moment.

The detailed accounts in Peril especially the behind-the-scenes conversations make it a thrilling read. However, notably omitted were such events as Trump’s risky and showy ride-around outside the hospital where he was treated for Covid putting his secret service agents in peril, so to speak.

Trump’s phone call to pressure the Georgia Secretary of State to come up with enough votes to overturn the state’s official tally was also not included. This is surprising given that the Washington Post had broken the story.

Also, not discussed in any length was the delay by the Trump people in helping the Biden team transition. I saw only one reference to this unprecedented delay: “Cooperation on the transition was spotty at best, even obstructionist.”

Nonetheless, the reporting was meticulous in most areas, and Peril provides a concrete historical record of what transpired during 2020-21. I fear, however, there may be more peril to write about in the future.

______

Peril; Bob Woodward and Robert Costa; published by Simon & Schuster 2021; 426 pages plus reference notes and index; $30.00 U.S., $39.99 Canada; Hard Cover ISBN 978-1-9821-8291-5; ebook ISBN 978-1-9821-8293-9.

 

Authors Bob Woodward and Robert Costa